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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Advance Citrus Disease Research & Product Dvlpmt to Ensure the Sustainability of the Natl Citrus Industry

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6618-22320-001-34
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 01, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2014

Objective:
1. Characterize the pathogen and elucidate its role in disease onset and development. 2. Investigate citrus plant response to pathogen infection. 3. Establish disease epidemiology and evaluate disease mitigation by cultural practices or competing microbes. 4. Define Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) biology and behavior important to HLB infection. 5. Develop and deliver ACP vector management. 6. Utilize emerging citrus genomics and transcriptomics to develop solutions to citrus diseases. 7. Develop transgenic and viral/bacterial-vector mediation of citrus resistance to disease. 8. Find solutions to citrus disease through use of model systems, including chemical screening and therapeutics development.

Approach:
HLB is the most important exotic disease impacting Florida’s $9 billion industry and threatens other citrus-producing states (California, Arizona and Texas). Production costs have increased up to 100% per acre for just HLB and vector management, and some growers are considering abandonment of citrus. The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), a Direct Support Organization (DSO) of the University of Florida and working on behalf of the Florida citrus industry, has utilized a strategic plan for research developed by the National Academies of Science (NAS)to establish an ongoing research agenda which currently involves projects with 22 institutions in 7 states, 3 USDA regional offices, 3 other countries, and 4 outside supporting institutions. The research proposed for support in this Specific Cooperative Agreement (SCA) comprises 8 components that focus on the pathogen, insect vectors, plant resistance, and delivery of short and long-term solutions directly to Florida’s 6,000 small and large growers. Funding to sustain this effort has largely come from grower research/marketing taxes, and will be complemented by this SCA support to help fund critical new research projects to develop and deliver solutions. Using the process recommended by the NAS strategic plan, CRDF request and evaluates proposals for new research addressing Huanglongbing (HLB). The CRDF national Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) provides peer review of all projects submitted for funding, This agreement proposes to use USDA funds to meet project costs during the agreement period for projects rated highly for their scientific merit and being evaluated for their impact on citrus production by the CRDF Research Management Committee. Solutions to diseases and pests affecting Florida and other US citrus producing areas will only emerge through aggressive research, product development and delivery. It is the mission of CRDF to partner with the strongest teams worldwide to develop the best science and application to the problems. Support from the SCA will advance our goals and sustain Florida’s longstanding premier citrus industry. Now in the third year addressing HLB research, CRDF manages a large portfolio of research being conducted by public and private institutions within Florida and beyond. Continuing costs of this portfolio or multi-year research projects addressing NAS priorities is in excess of $15 million, with new projects being solicited each year to build on advances and fill gaps in the NAS priorities. The goal is to identify and fund the best teams and proposals to mitigate citrus production loss from infectious disease in Florida.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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